Tuesday, January 28, 2014

McAuliffe stiff-arms Marshall

When it comes to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s decision to walk away from defending the commonwealth’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, it's easy enough to understand why Republicans are squawking.

Squawk is part of their brand.

What’s hard to understand is why so many modern Republicans seem happy to jump on every sputtering bandwagon that comes along to squeeze whatever they can out of a moment. But it comes at the expense of soon looking bad … soon, and for a long time.

Democrats should encourage Republicans to squawk away.

And, by turning down State Sen. Bob Marshall’s request to appoint a special council to defend the amendment Gov. Terry McAuliffe is showing his savvy grasp of the moment. No doubt, he heard some advice to oblige Marshall, who was the biggest pusher of the 2006 charter change. It would look more bipartisan, it would entail little risk, so why not?

Instead, the savvy new governor politely still-armed Marshall. After all, this amendment never should have been there, in the first place. In 2006 it was a tactical gimmick. It was put on the ballot chiefly to goose conservative turnout in the election; now it seems poised to be put to sleep.

Ironically, the supposed chief beneficiary of the GOP's election-year strategy, George Allen, was too busy putting his own career as a senator to sleep. 

Once again, Republicans posing for a group picture of themselves making their case for being throwbacks to the bad old days. They seem blithely unaware that the caption under the photo is going to read:
They were among the politicians in 2014 who, like their flinty forebears in the '60s, stood defiantly on the wrong side of history.
In the not so distant future, Bob Marshall and his ilk are going to be seen by young voters as looking like villains in old news photos. Pictures in the same souvenir box with photos of Bull Connor and Strom Thurmond, padlocked public schools, open fire hoses, snarling police dogs, burned out churches and clippings of Richmond News Leader editorials.

Young voters, liberal or conservative on other issues, just aren’t going to be willing to support politicians devoted to resisting change on this front.

And, Byrd Machine-reenactor Bob Marshall doesn’t give a hoot about them.

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